New Jersey Police Officer Fired For Calling BLM Protesters “Terrorists”

We have been discussing the termination of public employees and others for their postings on social media or public displays.  The latest case is out of New Jersey where former Hopewell Township police officer Sara Erwin was fired recent over a June 2020 posting on Facebook in which she referred to Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters as “terrorists.”  There remains an uncertain line of what political or social views are tolerated and what are barred on social media.  Indeed, Sgt. Mandy Gray was suspended and demoted for simply liking the June 2020 post.

Gray was the first female officer hired in Hopewell Township and became the first female sergeant in 2019, according to NJ.com.

Erwin insists that she posted the statement after she and her colleagues were faced with violent protests and family members who were traumatized by images on television of officers being attacked. Erwin reportedly wrote i:

“Last night as I left for work I had my two kids crying for me not to go to work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the way I did last night. And then I watched people I know and others I care about going into harms way. I love my police family like my own. So when you share posts and things on Facebook I’d really appreciate if you’d THINK before doing so. I’ve seen so many black lives matter [sic] hashtags in these posts. Just to let you know — they are terrorists. They hate me. They hate my uniform. They don’t care if I die.”

Hopewell Township Mayor Julie Blake and the town’s council made the decision to fire her in an unanimous vote to accept the recommendations of a hearing officer.

As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, my default is in favor of free speech. My concern is the lack of a consistent rule. For example, would the town have fired Erwin if she said the same thing about another group like the Proud Boys or the NRA?

I can understand the objection to the posting. BLM is a group committed to fighting police abuse and regularly engages in protests. For an officer to express such bias against BLM can exacerbate tensions in such protests. However, officers also have a right to be able to express themselves. The balance of those interests should, at a minimum, have favored a reprimand rather than a termination for Erwin. If not, the town should establish a clear standard as to what public employees are allowed to express on political and social issues. This includes whether certain groups can be criticized but not others.

Twitter recently censored criticism of a BLM founder and we have been discussing the targeting of professors who voice dissenting opinions about the Black Lives Matter movement, police shootings, or aspects of the protests around the country from the University of Chicago to Cornell to Harvard to other schools. Students have also been sanctioned for criticism BLM and anti-police views at various colleges. Even a high school principal was fired for stating that “all lives matter.”  Each of these controversies raise concerns over the countervailing statements against police or Republicans or other groups.

The action taken by Hopewell Township raises more questions than answers on where this line is drawn in terms of free speech.

44 thoughts on “New Jersey Police Officer Fired For Calling BLM Protesters “Terrorists””

  1. Terrorist groups often set their victims on fire. We can see what BLM would do by their actions. When a group tells you who they are you should believe them. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pigs-in-a-blanket-chant-at-minnesota-fair-riles-police/ In the coverage CBS tries to say they weren’t talking about police. They must have meant to go get some hotdogs and some biscuit mix. Maybe they meant to go to a farm to buy a pig to put in a blanket and then fry it. Oh my, how could anyone think they were in favor of committing an act of terrorism against the police?

    1. The post-apartheid Progressive South African preferred method of lynching competing blacks. In other African nations, they lynched competing people of white. Then there is the Hutu/Tutsi legacy. And, of course, the disparate black-on-black, black-on-white, black-on-Asian, and black-on-police violence in our own nation.

  2. Turley: “The action taken by Hopewell Township raises more questions than answers on where this line is drawn in terms of free speech.”

    Why don’t you propose where you would draw a bright line in lieu of whining? You are the professor. Provide some answers for a change.

    1. Hey jiffy , why do you not do some of what you preach ?. Oh , right …yeah that would be problematic as you probably are a BLM wingnut supporter and are down with the antifa thing. We already know.

      1. Phergus,

        BLM wingnut and Antifa supporter? Anything else you care to accuse me of being? I’m listening.

  3. I hope somebody is tracking these things so there will be a database of places where people who want to be cops should know NOT to apply.

  4. BLM is a military/intelligence black op of the Ministry of State Security (MSS), or Guoanbu of China.

    Bought and paid for.
    ________________

    As protests broke out across the country in the name of Black Lives Matter, the group’s co-founder went on a real estate buying binge, snagging four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US alone, according to property records. Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37, also eyed property in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both have homes, The Post has learned. Luxury apartments and townhouses at the beachfront Albany resort outside Nassau are priced between $5 million and $20 million, according to a local agent. The self-described Marxist last month purchased a $1.4 million home on a secluded road a short drive from Malibu in Los Angeles, according to a report. The 2,370-square-foot property features “soaring ceilings, skylights and plenty of windows” with canyon views. The Topanga Canyon homestead, which includes two houses on a quarter-acre, is just one of three homes Khan-Cullors owns in the Los Angeles area, public records show.

    – NY Post

  5. Jonathan,
    You say the officer expressed a “bias” against BLM. A “bias” is an irrationally held belief. There is certainly ample evidence that members of BLM have used or threatened violence to achieve a political end(s), which is the definition of “terrorist” (at least before the meaning of “terrorist” was diluted by unthinking overuse and misuse in applying it to most anyone people disagreed with). Whether the number of BLM protesters and rioters behaving violently or threatening violence is enough to fairly classify BLM supporters as “terrorists” is an open question about which reasonable people could disagree. Bottom line, on the information available, it can’t be said the officer’s statement reflected a bias.

  6. @ashcroft’s zersetzung

    So called ‘conservatives’ conserve very little. Can’t decide which is more worthless, National Review or the Heritage Foundation. In 10 years when the woke crowd wishes to legalize polygamy, they will be arguing for the sanctimony of gay ‘marriage’

    antonio

    1. “Gay marriage” is an oxymoronic contradiction in terms.

      Marriage derives from Mary, Mother of God, and is an institution of propagation and motherhood.

      Matrimony derives from mater, the Latin word for mother.

      Marriage and matrimony are for the fertilization, gestation and birth of children; something that cognitively damaged, aberrant and perverse homosexuals will never be able to do.

      It is completely understandable that freaks of nature would love to fraudulently obtain the label, normal – which exercise is no more efficacious than putting lipstick on a pig, as you deceive only those desirous of being deceived.

  7. The love and tolerance crowd strikes again!! Once the woke crowd is in a position to make laws, a person will go to jail for questioning our sacred black pets.

    Amazing how we are not allowed to condemn or ever question activities done on the behalf of our sacred pets but at the same time do not want to live next to them in large numbers or send our kids to the same schools. Blacks are truly sacred, amazing people.

    And on another note, if I am not mistaken, a BLM leader bought several homes (with donations, of course) in a wealthy white area. Looks like they aren’t required to get their hands dirty either.

    antonio

  8. BLM protestors are not terrorists.

    BLM protestors are the enemy.

    BLM, MSM, Facebook, Twitter, liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats et al. are the enemy.

    The entire American welfare state is unconstitutional and, therefore, a construct of the enemy.

    The enemy state, extant in the United States of America, was addressed definitively by the American Founders who admonished patriotic Americans; then and now.

    To wit,

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

  9. Civil libertarians warned about 20 years ago that unconstitutional terrorism authorities would boomerang and return to sender. Back then so-called Conservatives were very liberal with limited constitutional government. Constitutionally oath-sworn officials with very liberal with their supreme loyalty oath.

    Fast forward to 2021: America still practices torture, false detention and assignation programs of any so-called “terrorist” on the globe. Today in 2021, the top terrorist threat (based on statistics) are American Domestic Terrorists (not Muslims) – the same guys that supported Bush & Cheney and were liberal on limited constitutional government. Just this these, this already designated group attempted to overturn and subvert the results of a democratic election.

    Right now is the best time to “constitutionalize” the liberal Bush practices from 20 years ago! The boomerang has come home to roost!

    1. Today, its hard for a Jihadist to attack the US.
      So if they can’t get in and attack, the numbers are down.
      US citizens who wish to attack the US are terrorists but nothing can be done until they act or you catch them in the act before the damage.

      So your stats are giving you a wrong impression.

  10. ter·ror·ist
    /ˈterərəst/

    noun
    noun: terrorist; plural noun: terrorists
    a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

    After the widespread, multi-state looting, arson, assaults on police officers, and terrorizing innocent people in restaurants and in their homes, what else would you call the BLM movement? They employ unlawful violence, especially against civilians, in order to accomplish political goals.

    1. About 99% of BLM protesters operate legally and non-violently. About 99% of police officers operate within legal bounds of their Oath of Office. We shouldn’t stereotype the 99% but focus on the 1%.

      Reminder: U.S. Supreme Court rulings like “Carpenter v. US” make it illegal for police, FBI or any other agency to merely perform warrantless surveillance for more than 2 weeks. Police chiefs aren’t following this ruling and likely giving illegal orders to their officers. There are laws for police and federal officials also.

    2. BLM does not fight against police abuse. They lie about the rate of police use of force against unarmed black people, and they lie about how often those unarmed black people were fighting with or trying to murder police. There are very, very few cases of deadly, unlawful use of force.

      BLM lies about use of force incidents in order to further their political aims, which are anti-capitalist and in support of socialism. In other words, they want free stuff and power. Socialism requires warfare between classes of people. Socioeconomic class warfare won’t catch fire in the US, because of upward mobility. Therefore, they were in need of a war to create. They lied that the US is a racist country. North Korea is a racist country, complete with forced abortions of mixed race pregnancies. There are myriad black wealthy and/or famous academics, recording artists, athletes, physicians, entrepreneurs, and other self made individuals. There are no laws barring black success. Irresponsible behavior, black on black crime, and failure to seize available opportunities are the biggest barriers to black success. BLM lied about Michael Brown’s hands being up. Brown actually grabbed and fired the cop’s gun, and was in the act of charging back at him when he was shot. Breonna Tayler was in the middle of a gun fight between the cops and her drug dealer boyfriend. Then there was the dead body in the car she’d rented. There was the guy who had shown up at the home of the woman who’d pressed sexual assault charges against him, taken her kids and her keys, put the kids in a van where he had a knife, and was going for that knife when the cops he’d fought with shot him.

      If you lie about a police use of force, instead of just stating all the facts, then you know you are wrong.

      BLM is lying when it claims to promote black success, because it calls the proven steps of success “whiteness”: personal responsibility, a nuclear family, fathers who don’t leave, waiting to have children until wedlock, abstaining from drugs, punctuality, studying hard, doing well in school, working hard at a job. All the advice passed down from parent to child for generations, because it is proven to work for any race, is deemed “whiteness”. This is not only racist, but ignorant, as Asians have statistically followed these proven steps for success, as a group, at a higher rate than whites. Actual Africans immigrate here, with conservative values, follow these steps, and succeed. If America was racist, then systemic racism would apply to African, Caribbean, and East Indian immigrants as well.

      BLM is lying when it claims that whites are dangerous to blacks. Its founder used her activist gained riches advocating against whites and capitalism, to buy a multi-million dollar property in an overwhelmingly white majority neighborhood in CA.

      If BLM wanted blacks to live longer, more successful, healthier lives, then it would focus its considerable influence on breaking up criminal gangs, providing security to high crime neighborhoods so that kids can play safely, and promoting the importance of getting a good education. Skipping school and smoking weed isn’t cool, and studying hard isn’t “acting white”. You can pour billions of dollars into schools, but as long as kids are raised to believe that it’s a waste of time, then those kids are still going nowhere.

      Stop contributing to the racist low expectations that the culture of failure is “black culture.” Black people have a variety of subcultures, just like whites do. There is the going-nowhere culture where most women get pregnant out of wedlock to men who skip out on them, have a poor education, commit crimes at a high rate, and fight with police, and there is the conservative culture of black people who emphasize education, have a nuclear family, go to church, and have successful lives.

      Thomas Sowell is in a different universe than the criminals swaggering around a street.

      BLM would convince black people that whites don’t like them because of their skin color, when in reality, they don’t care what someone looks like. They care about what they do. If someone is in the act of murdering you, do you care what he looks like? If someone is a great friend, do you care what he looks like? If you are struck by the beauty of a piece of art, do you care what the artist looks like?

    3. Yes so true…they are Communist/Socialist Democrats…that hate our beautiful country.

  11. Diversitists, yes. Staging insurrections across the nation under cover of woke and [morally] broke politicians and corporations (fascism). Attacking officers and the public. Extorting protection fees from businesses. Invading neighborhoods a la Democrat-affiliated KKK of yesteryear. Take a knee, beg, good girl. One step froward, two steps backward.

  12. It’s the opinion of some that if the speech objectively reflects negatively on his employer then the employer can and should fire the employee.

    My thoughts are…

    There are lots of things that could be considered as objectively reflects negatively on the employer. Consider the following and how it could relate to a particular kind of job.

    What if the employee has political yard signs for Trump.

    What if the employee has bumper stickers for Trump?

    What if the employee denounces Black Lives Matter as being racist?

    What if the employee is a member of the GOP?

    What if the employee is a member of the NRA?

    What if the employee rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle on the weekends?

    What if the employee eats meat?

    What if the employee doesn’t eat meat?

    What if the employee is gay?

    What if the employee isn’t gay?

    What if the employee’s car isn’t electric?

    What if the employee goes to church on Sunday?

    What if the employee doesn’t go to church on Sunday?

    The list can go on and on.

    Honestly, how far should an employer be allowed to push this kind of firing before people stand up and say this is WRONG and it infringes on individual rights?

    In my opinion; we the people do not loose our individual rights as private citizens outside the work place when we take a position with an employer regardless of whether the position is a position of leadership or not. Outside of the United States Military, an employer cannot legally dictate what the employee can and cannot say outside the work place and I think that firing an employee for constitutionally protected free speech made outside the work place is an infringement on their individual rights.

    This kind of reaction from an employer to constitutionally protected free speech can be used and abused my employers in a manner that literally puts a stranglehold on non work related personal free speech because employees will be in literal fear of loosing their livelihood because employers won’t stand up to the mob of social justice warriors and just fire the outspoken employee. This kind of reaction from an employer can easily be perceived as direct persecution for exercising a constitutionally protected right to free speech.

    1. In my opinion; the organization called Black Lives Matter (BLM) is anti-white racist, anti-American, pro-totalitarian Marxist, and terrorist*. The people that actively support BLM are either anti-white racists or anti-white proxy racists. The whole premise of the BLM organization is built upon the big lies that they promote as steadfast absolutes 1) police are racists 2) systemic racism oppressing black people 3) the United States is a racist country; the problem is that none of these things that BLM claims can be supported with evidence and anytime you ask for supporting evidence you get personally attacked and called a racist for asking.

      If I had only one phrase to describe my perception of how BLM and its supporters think it would be “rights for me but not for thee” and that kind of thinking is what will destroy the Constitution and Liberty.

      *Terrorist: a person/group that uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

      Yes, Black Lives Matter is a racist anti-American terrorist organization supporting and promoting terrorist activities.

    2. Big Tech has been leading the way on that. If you’re a conservative and you work for them, you closet your views lest you be fired.

    3. Steve Witherspoon,

      “ Honestly, how far should an employer be allowed to push this kind of firing before people stand up and say this is WRONG and it infringes on individual rights?”

      There’s a problem with this. I don’t disagree that it is wrong sometimes, but ironic you can think Republican legislatures for this problem. Right to work laws allow employers to fire workers without cause. If a company doesn’t like what you said on Facebook or Twitter it can fire you if it wants to.

      You can still exercise your freedom of speech. Every person fired because they liked something or said something on Facebook or Twitter or whatever exercised their freedom of speech with no problem. What many don’t understand is that exercising it also brings consequences that are not protected by the 1st amendment. You can state your opinions outside of work. But you also have a responsibility to consider the consequences of what your opinions can bring upon you.

      The 1st amendment only protects you from government not private companies.

  13. Some, Select [Black] Lives Matter is a diversity (i.e. color judgment) racket. Well, this will not be lost in a back… black hole… whore h/t NAACP. That said, Baby Lives Matter (BLM).

  14. Ah Hopewell New Jersey – home of the Mercer oak. It’s really slid since back in 2003 when you had at least one smart guy on your little town council. He’s gone and so are the other people with brains and this is what ya got left.

  15. BLM is a radical marxist organization whose stated purpose is the deconstructing of Western society – i.e. – as applied here that means the United States. They are an anti-American criminal traitor organization. They don’t nicely protest against police brutality. The idea you can whitewash and downplay their radical anti-American riots and wanton destruction for over 12 months is laughable. I will refrain from posting all of the pictures and videos and links to their terroristic work, which you must already be aware of. The police officer’s online comments are not only accurate, but understated. When I worked in local government in the 1990’s I had to attest i was not a member of any group that wished the overthrow of the federal government. When are we going to root out this leftist insurrection against our society? The only thing you seemed to be right on was that if the rule is applied, then it should apply across the board. Agreed. But I don’t think the rule should exist – the public should know what cops think of what they face in their communities.

    1. I often can’t decide if Turley is childishly naive or simply blind to reality. The totalitarians are in charge and Turley is wringing his hands about the niceties of free speech theory.
      Earth to Turley, free speech is impossible in a multicultural regime.

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